Ecotrips: What You Need to Know
RPN's ecotrips emphasize small-group wildlife experiences. Our maximum group size is 8. We believe that small groups are best for wildlife viewing, providing meaningful nature experiences, and interacting with rural communities.
RPN's Nature Travel Experience
When you travel with Red Panda Network to Nepal you experience conservation in action. Since 2012 RPN has led journeys-of-a-lifetime to some of the most biologically diverse areas in the world to visit red pandas in the wild. RPN and our travelers have given more than $180,000 USD to directly support community-based conservation initiatives. As a traveler, you will experience the gentle hospitality of family homestays and tea houses, which are far removed from the bustle of mass tourism. We believe our nature travel experiences will inspire and inform. When you return home you will be moved.
RPN Ecotrips Include
- Meals from dinner on day 1 through dinner on the final day
- RPN professional guides
- Transportation during the trip
- Permits and park fees on the trip
- Maximum group size of 8
Trip Participant's Responsibility
Trip participants have the responsibility to select a trip appropriate to their abilities and interest; a moderate level of physical ability is needed on all of RPN's trips.
- Our trips involve half to full-day hikes (5-7 hours) during most days through broadleaf forests and on steep trails.
- There might be significant elevation gains of 3,000 feet.
- The lowest altitude you’ll experience is 91m and the highest is 3,636m.
- Accommodations can involve a combination of homestays and hotels, or even tent camping (check individual itineraries for specifics).
- There might be limited access to electricity.
- Bathroom facilities at homestay locations might be rustic and can include squat toilets.
- Water is obtained from bottled water sources.
- Cooking might be on open-fire stoves, but mostly with fuel-efficient stoves.
- Bathroom facilities might be rustic (squat toilets)
Photo by Ashley Bowen during an RPN March, 2017 Ecotrip.
Payments, Changes, & Cancellations
Book with Confidence
Your trip will run even for two people.
Bring a Friend
Bring a friend on your trip, they will qualify for a 10% discount on the trip price. We encourage groups of 2 or more as this guarantees the trip will happen as scheduled.
RPN encourages single travelers to join us. Single room accommodations are available without a surcharge.
Sign up with No Risk
Your deposit is fully transferable. If you transfer to another trip or put your deposit ($500) on hold for a future trip before your final payment is due. Your deposit is fully refundable up to 15 days after you book. Only applies to deposits made a minimum of 15 days or more before your final payment is due.
- At the time of reservation.....$500
- 60 days prior to trip departure .....Balance
- All payments must be made via RPN's eco-trip payment form.
- Prices are in US Dollars.
- RPN makes every effort to keep our costs reasonable; however, cost increases due to foreign currency fluctuations, acts of God, etc. might raise prices. if this occurs we will notify you before the final payment.
- We will not increase prices after the final payment has been made.
Red Panda Network reserves the right to cancel any trip due to inadequate enrollment or other causes that make the trip unfeasible to operate. If this happens we will inform you 45 days prior to departure, and we will offer a full refund or offer an alternate trip. RPN is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by members preparing or the trip (e.g. non-refundable advance purchase airfare, etc.).
- We will provide a full refund up until 90 days before the trip.
- All cancellations must be made in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All cancellations processed 90 days or more will result in a $100 fee per person.
- Cancellations made 51-89 calendar days prior to departure require a loss of 50% of the program fee.
- cancellations made within 50 days prior to departure require a loss of entire program fee.
You may transfer one time to another trip without penalty by notifying us 90 days or more prior to departure. After that time, you are subject to the cancellation fees listed above.
In the unlikely event RPN needs to change an itinerary we will make reasonable efforts to substitute comparable accommodations. Should RPN be required to cancel a trip due to unforeseen circumstances, travelers will be granted a trip credit up to the amount paid, but RPN is not liable for accompanying purchase (gear, airline tickets, etc)
Getting outside for conservation on an RPN ecotrip!
RPN strongly encourages purchasing travel insurance to cover the cost of cancellation fees, airfare, and other nonrefundable expenses.
Passports & Visa
- For up-to-date passport and visa requirements visit your country's Consular Department. In the U.S. visit: travel.state.gov.
- If you have less than 6 months remaining on your passport you will not be able to enter Nepal.
- You will need a tourist visa for Nepal. Learn more about Visa's at Nepal's Dept. of Immigration website.
- You can purchase a Visa upon your arrival at Kathmandu airport (the cost is approximately $30 USD and you are required to bring two passport-sized photographs), though RPN does not suggest this method.
- RPN recommends completing an online application for the Nepal Tourist Visa prior to your arrival.
Completing the online application for a Nepal Tourist Visa
1. Goto: The Nepal Application for a Tourist Visa form. (Direct Link: http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa)
Note: Complete the form no more than 15-days prior to your arrival. So, if your plane arrives on the 15th of the month, you can obtain your Visa beginning on the 1st. On the 16th, your online application will no longer be available.
2. Make sure the page is titled, "Application for Tourist Visa."
3. Complete your name, address information, etc. You will also need to provide your passport number and email address.
4. Upload a recent digital passport photo, size: 1.5 inches (3.8cm) x 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).
5. The form will give you the option to select "Hotel" or "Other," please select "Other."
6. Complete the form to the best of your ability. For the "Address in Nepal" section, enter RPN's office address in the following fields:
House Number: 198
Street Name: Dashrath Chand Marg
Ward No: 4
VDC/Municipality: Kathmandu Metropolitan
7. Submit the form. You will be emailed a receipt with a barcode. BRING THIS WITH YOU as it will be needed to complete your Visa application for entering Nepal. It is suggested to bring cash to pay for the Visa (approximately $30 USD), though other payment methods are accepted.
Arrival & Departure
- The starting point of our trips is the "TIA" Tribhuvan International Airport where a local driver will pick you up.
- Travelers will need to make airline reservations to and from Kathmandu (TIA).
- You should arrive in Kathmandu on the first day of your trip dates and depart the day after the final trip date (for example if your trip dates are Nov 21st – Dec 2nd then you would arrive on Nov 21st and depart on Dec 3rd).
- If you need to arrive early or depart late we can help you book a hotel for the extra nights (cost not included in price).
- We CANNOT accommodate arrivals after the first trip date or departures that are before the final trip date.
- RPN is not liable for if you miss any portion of your trip as a result of your late arrival, for whatever reason, at the starting point of the trip.
Airlines in Nepal
- RPN works with local airlines in Nepal.
- Many air carriers have unknown safety and maintenance records.
- RPN is not liable for incidents involving airline safety, risk, delays or accidents involving injury or death.
- Please read any conditions on your airline tickets.
Part of the RPN ecotrip experience is staying in local accomodations. These homestays are welcoming, comfortable, and you get to learn about Nepali culture from local people. Homestay personnel are trained in effective sanitation and food safety standards.
Your Gear & Comfort
Gear & Equipment
- Please pack lightly and follow the guidelines in your Pre-Departure information and Gear List.
- Bring a backpack (80-100 liters) for your gear; also bring a rain cover.
- Bring a small day pack (30 liters) to hold gear for your day outings. Larger items can be left at the homestay/hotel.
- Your luggage and larger packs will be transported by porters and jeep, which you will be able to leave behind (at the homestay/hotel/jeep) while you are hiking.
- RPN recommends that you do not bring suitcases.
- Pack only the essentials, as this will help both you and the field staff with transporting your gear.
Dress in Layers
In order to obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight please bring versatile layers to create the right blend of insulation, ventilation, and weather protection. Lessen the possibility of hypothermia and avoid cotton-based clothing.
Kathmandu: November/December 15°C / 8°C. April/May 28°C / 15°C
In the field: November/December 24°C / -8°C. April/May 34°C / -8°
Medical & Health
- It is vital that persons with health or medical problems make them known to RPN well before departure.
- For up-to-date vaccine information, visit cdc.gov/travel.
- Trip members are responsible for understanding their conditions stated in the Trip Itinerary.
- The trip leader has the right to disqualify anyone during the trip if he or she feels the participant is mentally or physically incapable or if the member's participation will jeopardize the individual or the group.
Food & Water
- RPN provides safe bottled water to participants.
- Travelers are welcome to bring a water filter if they wish.
- Travelers will be eating in restaurants, hotels, and homestay facilities.
- Homestay personnel is trained in effective sanitation and food safety standards.
- Travel, food, and accommodations are all covered in your trip cost (during the trip dates).
- If you wish to have some money to spend on souvenirs, gift, or shopping you can convert money at the Kathmandu airport or obtain Rupees at ATMs near the hotel.
- You will need $40 USD to pay for your tourist visa when you arrive at the airport.
- Currency exchanges are located at the Kathmandu airport and local banks.
- The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupees are found in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 25, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins for rupees in amounts of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 are available.
Smoking on RPN Trips
Trip participants may not smoke in areas where others are affected (such as vehicles, public areas, households) or when encountering wildlife. This includes the use of vaporizers or electronic cigarettes.
Cell Phones & Electronics
You are welcome to bring electronic devices, though RPN respectfully asks that participants limit phones, tablets, or personal computers while in the field, enclosed areas where meals are, or communal areas where participants are gathering.
Drones are not permitted on RPN trips.
Families & Age Limits
RPN welcomes families, but we do have an age limit, all participants must be at least 16 years of age at the time of the trip.
Guides, Gratuities, & Wildlife
RPN's guides are local conservationists and professional ecotrip leaders who are passionate about red pandas and the communities that support them. RPN’s trip leaders are trained in first aid and they carry a group first-aid kit; you are welcome to bring a personal first aid kit.
Gratuities are included in the trip price.
RPN's programs specialize in tracking wild red pandas and every effort is made to plan itineraries where wildlife exists. It is not always possible to determine their precise locations which might impact the number of occurrences for spotting.
Legal & Misc. (Boring, But Important)
RPN occasionally takes photos or video of our trips for promotional use, participants grant this use without payment or compensation.
Limitations of Liability
In consideration of Red Panda Network, Inc., a nonprofit public benefit corporation (“Red Panda Network”), allowing me to attend and participate in Red Panda Network sponsored events held at Red Panda Network and third-party venues (“Red Panda Network Events”).
I agree to the following terms and conditions (“ Agreement ”):
1. Release and Waiver.
Red Panda Network (RPN) seeks to select reliable suppliers and contractors to provide air and other transportation, hotels, guides, and other travel-related services. We do not assume responsibility, directly or indirectly, for any loss, damage, or injury to property or person in connection with trip services. Each participant agrees not to hold RPN, its board, employees, partners and representatives liable, in the absence of their own gross negligence, for any loss or injury, expense or damage that results directly or indirectly from any act or omission to any person or firm that is to, or does provide, goods or services in connection with the trip, or any available optional excursion.
With limited exceptions, RPN and its officers, directors, employees, shareholders and affiliates (collectively RPN) do not own, operate, or control any entity that provides, or is to provide any goods or services for your trip or expedition, including, without limitation, own or control any lodging facilities, airline, bus, vessel or other transportation companies, food service providers, local ground operators, outfitters or guides, travel operators, equipment suppliers, organizers of optional excursions, entertainment providers, etc., including, without limitation, various entities that may utilize the RPN name or logos. RPN is not responsible for any negligent or willful act, or failure to act, of any such person or entity, or of any other third party not under RPN’s control. Without limitation, is not liable for any direct, indirect, consequential or incidental damage; injury, loss, or damage to person or property, illness, death, delay, inconvenience or irregularity of any kind in connection with the trip or expedition that may be occasioned by or resulting from any act or omission beyond its control, including, but not limited to, any willful or negligent act, failure to act or breach of contract of any third party, acts of God, force majeure, acts of war or civil unrest, acts of government, insurrection or revolt, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind or the threat thereof, climate conditions, high altitude, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations or structural or other defective conditions in hotels or other lodging facilities, the operation of and/or mechanical or other failure of any means of transportation or for any failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart in a timely or safe manner, dangers associated with or bites from animals, pests or insects, marine life or vegetation of any sort, dangers incident to any recreational activities, epidemics or the threat thereof, sanitation problems, including, without limitation, risks associated with food or impure water, lack of access to or quality of medical care, difficulty in evacuation in case of a medical or other emergency, stolen, lost, or misplaced luggage or property, theft or break-ins into vehicles, lodging rooms or elsewhere, or for any other action or omissions of third parties, or conditions beyond the control of RPN.
Participant grants RPN express permission to take photographic and video images of participants on its trips for promotional and commercial use, and to use participant’s images or likeness in its promotional materials without compensation topthe participant. RPN reserves the right to accept or reject any person as a trip participant, for any reason. The provisions listed on this website are not intended to in any way limit, modify, or alter RPN’s Terms and Conditions.
2. Assumption of Risk
I acknowledge that I am aware of the inherent risks involved with participating in Red Panda Network Events and I voluntarily assume all such risks associated with my participation in Red Panda Network Events.
I agree that this Agreement is intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of the State of California and that this Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of California. I understand and agree that any dispute arising under this Agreement will be brought exclusively in the state or federal courts within Santa Clara County, California and I consent to the exclusive personal jurisdiction and venue therein. I agree that in the event that any clause or provision of this Agreement shall be held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such clause or provision shall not otherwise affect the remaining provisions of this Agreement, which shall continue to be enforceable.